J. Crew is selling a controversial tote bag to help people in Nepal

J crew tote bag nepalJ. CrewIs this bag offensive or is it helpful?

J. Crew is trying to do something for the greater good.

The retailer released a tote bag with a photograph of the Annapurna Himalayan Mountain Range by Sean Lynch. Fifty per cent of the proceeds of the tote bags will go to the American Red Cross to send help for those who were affected by the devastating earthquakes in Nepal this past spring.

The earthquakes wrecked the city and killed over 8,500 people, making it the biggest natural disaster to ever hit the country, reported Reuters.

But not everyone thinks J. Crew’s attempt at philanthropy is a good one.

Hyperallergic writer Margaret Carrigan points out that this is a naive way to try to help, and that it borders on offensive, particularly for the image’s use of infra-red wavelengths, which makes sugarcoats Nepal’s woes.

“Yet what Lynch’s and Mosse’s photographs share, besides their candy-hued hills, is a fetishized landscape that challenges reality. Because infrared film reveals colour wavelengths that the naked eye can’t detect, this style of photography implies that we can see more through the image than we otherwise could in person,” she writes.

She also adds, “The film obscures the economic realities of a struggling nation and reduces it to a visual experience ripe for Western audiences.”

However, as of now, the bag is completely sold out on J. Crew’s website, which means some people are receiving J. Crew’s altruistic efforts positively.

To top things off, The New York Post reported a J. Crew executive was publicly outed for posting a now-removed photo on Instagram partying after he survived the layoffs, which he compared to the “#hungergames.”

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